The Inspiring Word
Pastor Terry Cheek Th.D.
Greetings once again and welcome back to our study of the Sermon on the Mount. Let’s continue with a look at Matthew 5:9 where we read; “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Last month we looked at purity and its relationship with righteousness. The progress and sequence of thought from purity of heart to being a peacemaker is a natural one. When we consider the causes of conflict one of the most frequent is intrigue. Likewise we find openness and sincerity as essential for all true reconciliation.
According to Matthew 5:9 every Christian is meant to be a peacemaker and this should be realized first in the church then carried into the community. Some may argue Matthew 10:34-36 where Jesus specifically speaks of conflict in the immediate family of those who follow Him. The conflict Jesus refers to is a result of accepting Him as Lord and Savior, it is not brought on by those who accept Him, but by those who have rejected Him and those who follow Him. In Matthew 10:34-36 the Christian isn’t creating conflict, the Christian is experiencing conflict. Jesus teaching is very clear, the Christian should never seek conflict or be responsible for it. The Christian is called to peace, we should actively pursue peace, we should strive for peace with all men and as far as it depends on us we are to live peaceably with everyone (1Cor.7:15; 1Pet.3:11; Heb.12:14; Rom.12:18).
Understanding this we must conclude that peacemaking is a divine work. Peace means reconciliation, and God is the creator of peace and reconciliation. Do you realize the very same verb (peace/peacemaker) which is used in Matthew 5:9 is also applied by the Apostle Paul when describing what God has done through Christ. Through Christ God was pleased to reconcile to Himself all things …making peace by the blood of His cross. Christ’s purpose was to create in Himself one new man in place of two (Jew and Gentile), making peace (Col.1:29; Eph.2:15). Why then should we be surprised that the particular blessing which attaches itself to peacemakers is that ‘they shall be called sons of God.’ The Christian should be following Christ’s example of loving people through His love. It is always the devil who is the troublemaker, and those who allow him the opportunity to work through them. It is God who loves reconciliation; by the Christian, through His only begotten Son Jesus, as God’s path of making peace.
It is necessary for us to realize the word ‘peace’ and the word ‘appeasement’ are not synonyms. Peace that comes from God is not peace at a negotiated price. Peace with God was made at an immense cost, the life-blood of His only Son. Likewise, we too (though in our lesser ways) will find peacemaking a costly effort. Dietrich Bonhoeffer has revealed to us the concept of ‘cheap grace’; likewise we must realize there is ‘cheap peace.’ If for any reason we proclaim ‘Peace, rather ‘Peace’ when there is no ‘peace’ we assume the work of a false prophet, not a Christian witness. Just as obvious are the examples of peace through pain. For instance when we are involved in a quarrel there will be either the pain of apologizing to the person we have injured or the pain of rebuking the person who has injured us. True peace is always accompanied with true forgiveness and both are costly treasures. Peace that comes through salvation comes only through forgiveness and that forgiveness only through repentance. So forgiveness is directly associated with peace and peace directly associated with repentance. Here is what Jesus said in Luke 17:3 “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him”.
Other examples of peacemaking are the work of reunion and evangelism. On the one hand we should seek to unite not divide churches and on the other we should desire the role of being God’s hand in bringing sinners to Christ. The true visible unity of the church is a proper Christian work, but only if it does not come through the pain of sacrificed doctrine. The church is never directed to seek unity without purity, purity of both doctrine and conduct. We cannot have cheap reunion.
Neither can we have cheap evangelism, which is the proclamation of the gospel without discipleship, the demand for faith without repentance. It has been truthfully said these are forbidden shortcuts. To attempt them is to turn the evangelist into a fraud, it cheapens the gospel and damages the cause of Christ. Christian, seek the role of a peacemaker, but always seek it on the Lords terms. Until we meet again may God richly bless you is my prayer.